DOCUMENTATION AND PRESENTING
Learn about some of the methods that we use when documenting and presenting our work.
USER RESEARCH SLIDE DECK
A very efficient and clear way of presenting your research findings as a group of slides (or ‘slide deck’) that includes: 1 or 2 slides outlining your research, 5-10 slides that describe your findings and 1 or 2 slides that explains what’s next or answers the ‘so what?’ question.
Why should I use it?
Because it’s far more efficient and quicker than writing a report, and focuses your colleagues’ attention on what you’ve done in a collaborative way. It helps you to craft your story of the research you’ve done and what it means.
How does it work?
Use presentation software (Keynote for Mac or Powerpoint/Google Slides for all operating systems). Use this to pull in photos of the research, quotes, key points, other research insights and even short video clips from your vox pops.
What makes for a good slide deck?
Avoiding bullet points or indeed any style you’ve seen in any management briefing by powerpoint is a good start. Clip art is a no-no, and beware just about every powerpoint template. Make your slides simple and text light, and consistent in your fonts.
Find out more:
GIVING A PRESENTATION
Presentations are a good way of focusing on the key outcomes of a project - but too often they can lose the audience by providing too much detail. Here’s our advice on how making presentations that work.
Focus on storytelling
Take your audience on a journey that has an introduction, some development and a clear conclusion. Focus on using images - not bullet points - to drive this story forward. The images you choose should reinforce your ideas and help you to tell your story. If you can manage to tell your story without any text at all, then you’re doing very well - but try at least to keep text down to a minimum. The more words on the screen - the less of your spoken words your audience will be listening to. Here’s a recent post on the Nature blog about why scientists should focus on storytelling to explain their work.
Start with one big idea
If you wanted the audience to remember just one thing from your talk, then what would it be? That’s your starting point, in planning the talk - how do you get the audience to not only remember that thing - but to think and perhaps talk about it afterwards? To help make that one big idea resonate, explain what it is at the start - and leave your audience with a question about it at the end.
Use your one big idea to help prune the rest
If you’re given a ten minute time limit there is perhaps a strong temptation to talk fast and cram it lots of bullet points. Don’t. Less is always more. So carefully edit out anything that isn’t vital to your presentation. But always remember to share with the audience why your topic is important to you and why they should care about it too. Go online and watch some TED talks - see how specialists can get their point over with an economy of words and an emphasis on visual storytelling. For example, see Keolu Fox explain why genetic research must be more diverse - in just under seven minutes.
Remember the rule of threes
In comedy there’s the comedic triple. In screenwriting there’s the three-act structure. As an orator, Martin Luther King was known for his uses of tripling. According to the rule of threes, things are funnier, more dramatic or more memorable when they come in threes. Audiences remember information conveyed in three parts better because of brevity, rhythm and the elegance of its pattern. And as a speaker you will remember your content far better. So structure your presentation in thirds, and present your big idea in terms of its three elements.
For even the most experienced public speaker, a tight time frame demands practice in advance. We encourage you to practice this at least 10 times. Having many rehearsals under your belt will allow you to be comfortable and have fun during your presentation! But sure, take notes with you if you think it will help. If you can practice with a critical friend then so much the better.
SHOW + TELL
The Show + Tell plays an important role in the design process. It is not a formal presentation, but an opportunity to show what you’ve been doing, tell of the learning you’ve gained and progress you’ve made, and invite questions and feedback. It’s not an end point, but an important stage in the journey.
Here are some key tips on getting the most from a Show + Tell:
Invite users, colleagues and others along and positively encourage them to participate - it contributes to openness and transparency - and improves the quality of work.
Give the Show + Tell clarity, structure and a sense of purpose. Spend at least 30 minutes preparing, and start by highlighting your goals and vision, next explain what you have done, then show the outcome so far. Finish with problems, questions, what’s next and ‘so what?’
Have physical stuff that people can interact with and role play where that is relevant. The section here on prototyping will help suggest what can be shown.
If you have a research wall, then use it in the Show + Tell to convey the story. In particular you may want to use your wall in explaining what you have learned.
Powerpoints rarely add anything to a Show + Tell and often detract. However, short videos, vox pops or stop frame animations can be useful.
Say what didn’t work - and explain why it didn’t.
Be open to questions and comment throughout.
If you’re facilitating a Show + Tell then explain to all those attending that the role of the audience member is to be supportive, to ask questions, to offer praise, thanks and constructive criticism.
Wakelet is a useful tool for sharing digital stories. It offers a great opportunity to collect information from a wide variety of sources and keep them conveniently in one place.
See examples of how we have used it here: https://wakelet.com/@openchange
You can weave together content from Twitter, blogs, websites, youtube and other online sources with your own text and photos to craft a compelling and powerful story.
Here are some tips on using it:
•Just a sequence of tweets doesn’t make for a clear story. You need narrative to put this into context.
•Don’t feel duty bound to include every tweet. Be selective.
•Think about the story in advance. Have a structure in mind and a possible draft of your introductory few sentences
•Hit ‘publish’ once you’re happy with the content - remember you can still edit it afterwards.
•Make sure that your introduction sets the scene for a person who knows nothing about the story.